At a time when the Internet remains perhaps the most critical communications channel for the people devastated by the earthquake and tsunami last week, remarkably it has continued to operate in spite of the dismal conditions on the ground throughout much of the country.
Keynote Systems, an Internet monitoring company that has been watching the health of the Internet inside Japan after the disaster struck found that the Internet continued to run in spite of a the level of destruction across Japan.
Dave Karow, senior product manager for Internet testing and monitoring at Keynote said over the weekend, “At a macro level, the Internet did what it’s supposed to do. It didn’t even blink. Access from Tokyo to major internet properties based on the Keynote Business 40 was not impacted in any meaningful way. Additionally, access between Tokyo and regional hubs including Seoul, Singapore and Taipai, as well as San Francisco, was not impacted either.” That’s pretty amazing when you consider some of the video that was coming out of Japan on Friday.
Further updates from Keynote indicated there were some problems on Monday, but certainly less than you would expect given the situation. The latest update also included status message from NTT, Japan’s main internet backbone provider that submarine repair crews were on the way to repair damaged undersea cables.
You can view Keynote’s online Internet monitoring tool here. It’s a very interesting look at the health of the Internet backbone across the world.
As Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writing on ZDNet pointed out, it may seem low on the scale of priorities after a disaster of this proportion, but the fact that people can access the Internet means they can get news, communicate and try to find the whereabouts of loved ones, so in a sense it is extremely critical that the Internet has continued to run as a key communications channel for those affected by the disaster.
Tools like Keynote’s can help us understand the situation and get details about the state of the Internet when it is so crucial that these channels remain open.
Photo by Silveira Netto on Flickr. Used under Creative Commons License.